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Aliens and Christians
It’s Alien Week on TV. For a Sci-fi channel that’s okay, but why are aliens popping up, and taking residence, on the History Channel, National Geographic, and Discovery. Aliens are becoming more of a challenge for Christians, how do we respond?
There was a time when theologians believed that God must have created other inhabited worlds. Given that God had existed from eternity past in an infinite universe, God would have been compelled to create more than Earth. But the universe is not infinite. Genesis 2:1 says, Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. For everything to be finished requires it to be finite. Romans 8:19-23 also makes it clear that all of creation was affected by Adam’s sin, and that it is waiting for deliverance that comes through the work of Christ. This can only be true if there is no sin from elsewhere to deal with. Theologically, then, there is no reason to believe in Aliens. Therefore, Aliens can only be a product of evolution, and Young Earth Creationists do not believe in evolution.
The Goldilocks Principle
Most people, including most Christians, do believe in evolution, and they challenge us with the question: Well, if evolution is true, then there must be Aliens? Big if! But the Aliens Hypothesis must deal with the Goldilocks Problem, that is, everything must be just right. Specifically, the right planet in the right orbit around the right sun. That may sound simple, but what is ‘right’ is composed of a number of factors.
The right planet must have a certain mass, because gravity is proportional to mass. Too little mass and the planet cannot hold its atmosphere, like Mars. Too much mass and the hypothetical aliens will be squat things that require a dense atmosphere to breathe. The planet will also have to be a rocky planet like Earth, rather than a gas planet like Jupiter. One Harvard scientist, commenting on the reported appearance of Aliens, suggested that they must come from a planet with less gravity than Earth.
If that planet is just the right size, then it must also be in the right orbit. Too close to its star and it will be too hot, like Venus. Too far away from the star, and it will be too cold, like Mars. That orbit, also cannot vary by a great deal. Most orbits are somewhat elliptical, or eccentric. If the Goldilocks zone is at the closest approach to the star, then as the planet moves farther away it will become too cold. If the Goldilocks zone is at the furthest point of the orbit, the planet will become too hot as it approaches closer. Not only is the distance from the star important, so too, is the shape of the orbit.
Not every star is like our sun. Some stars are smaller and colder, others larger and hotter. This affects the distance at which the planet must orbit the star. Gliese 581 is a star that is reported to have a planet in the Goldilocks zone, Gliese 581g. The planet is 3 to 4 times Earth’s mass, which equates to a gravity of 1.1 to 1.7 times Earth’s. The star is a brown dwarf that makes it 50 times cooler than our Sun. The planet orbits at 0.15 AU, or 15% of the distance, we are from the Sun. This is the habitable zone for that star. The problem is that Gliese 581 is a variable star; the variation is such that the temperature variations would kill anything living on a planet in the habitable zone.
The Goldilocks Principle makes it difficult to find habitable planets in other solar systems. The methods used to find exoplanets leaves room for a great deal of doubt about what is being found. Gliese 581g, reported as a habitable exoplanet is considered unconfirmed by the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia. The planets around Kepler 62 were reported to have been found in the habitable zone, but subsequent data placed them in orbits that made them Venus-like planets. While the distance some planets orbit their stars has been calculated, the data is insufficient to establish eccentricity, considering that most exoplanets have orbits more eccentric than the planets in our solar system, this is an important factor that needs to be established. Highly eccentric (elliptical) orbits make an otherwise habitable planet, uninhabitable. The evidence so far, suggests that a lot what is being said about habitable exoplanets is hyperbole. It is unlikely that there exists a habitable exoplanet.
Travel Time for UFOs
People see UFOs all the time. Eight per cent of the population is reported to have seen a UFO; that’s 2.4 million people in Canada and 24 million people in the US, that’s a lot of sightings. Now between 92 and 95 per cent of these sightings can be determined to be from explainable phenomena, it’s the five to eight per cent that remains that is a problem. There are 150 sightings of UFOs worldwide a day. If to two to five per cent are unexplainable, that still leaves five to nine sightings a day that might be Extra Terrestrial in origin. So what’s involved in them getting here?
Regardless of where UFOs are supposed to be coming from, they require massive amounts of energy. Space is vast, and it is not empty. SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) has been listening for thirty years, scanning 28 million frequencies a second, and heard no signals, we can assume, therefore, that UFOs are probably coming from further than 30 light years away. Assuming they can accelerate to half the speed of light, a craft the size of the space shuttle would need the energy of 23 million atomic bombs. At that speed, a collision with dust the size of pea would generate the energy of more than 2 atomic bombs. Any deflectors the craft had would need to have at least this much energy available. The energy requirements for interstellar travel make the trip unlikely.
A look at some of the considerations for interstellar travel.
Even though aliens are unlikely, people are being abducted, a reported two per cent of the population. That’s one out of every 50 people! A special group was formed to investigate abductions, CE-4 (Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind). As they studied who was being abducted, they discovered that every religious group was equally represented, except born again Christians. What is it that sets this group apart?
Graham Hancock, in his book Supernatural, notes that those experiencing drug induced hallucinations, meditation induced visions, or alien abductions, all reported similar experiences. The CE-4 researchers found that alien abductees in the process of being abducted, stopped the abduction if they invoked the name of Jesus. Abductees who became born again Christians stopped being abducted altogether. They concluded that Alien Abductions were in fact, Demon Encounters. For those suffering the trauma of abductions, that means that there is hope, the abductions can end.
A belief in Aliens is primarily dependent on a belief in evolution, if evolution is true, it makes sense that there will be intelligent life on other planets. Evolution, however, is an assumption. The exoplanets discovered so far are unlikely to be habitable by us, or something resembling us. The energy requirements for interstellar travel are prohibitive, making such travel unlikely. The only thing that can be said for certain is that alien abductions can be stopped by invoking the name of Jesus.
…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
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